In scenes not for the faint-hearted, UFC light heavyweight Devin Clark fought on despite taking some serious damage to his teeth during his defeat to Ion Cutelaba in their co-main event at UFC Fight Night 192 in Las Vegas.
Clark suffered a unanimous decision loss to his Moldovan rival, shipping heavy punishment in the opening two rounds and appearing close to being finished.
The American star’s teeth looked like they bore the brunt of Cutelaba’s onslaught, as Clark discussed with his corner whether he should come out for the third round.
Flashing a badly deformed bottom row of teeth to his team, Clark asked “what do you think?”
“Alright, let’s go,” said Clark after a brief debate, casually adding: “That’s surgery anyways.”
WARNING - GRAPHIC (SWIPE FOR VIDEO)
Incredibly, the Sioux Falls fighter managed to see out the fight – and was even given the third round on two of the judges’ scorecards (although that was widely disputed by fans).
Cutelaba closed out the win, 30-26, 29-27 and 29-26, but paid tribute to his rival afterwards.
“I am ready. I am staying here. First, thank you so much Devin Clark. Good fight, I respect you,” said the Moldovan, who earned his first win in his last four trips to the UFC octagon.
Devin Clark has so much heart.— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) September 19, 2021
Cutelaba will get the win, but you have to respect that resilience.
The reaction on social media was a mix of admiration for Clark's resilience, concern for his well-being, and people being generally grossed out by the sight of his mangled mouth.
"This his dude went on to WIN the next round, after suffering this injury. You kidding me?" wrote ESPN pundit Brett Okamoto.
Others offered assurances that it was nothing a bit of surgery couldn't fix – but hoped that the UFC and Dana White would suitably take care of Clark.
Devin Clark got his tough guy points for that one. Those points do come at a cost, though.— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) September 19, 2021
Wire the jaw ,reset the teeth and build a bridge or dental implants from all that damage, put in a plate to stabalize the gum, and he will be okay— C🔺 C🔺|IAM|HR|Manager|Promo| Public Speaker|👌🏾 (@STFUImTweetn0_o) September 19, 2021
That happened with a mouthpiece?— BallzyPlays (@BallzyPlays) September 19, 2021
They only use top mouthpieces. He took a knee to his bottom jaw while he had his mouth slightly open.— 🐻 (@_lunamarco) September 19, 2021
Clark, 31, endured back-to-back defeats for the first time in his career and slipped to 12-6 overall.
Clark gave an update to his fans on social media after their concern over the state of his mouth.
“They were able to pull the teeth back kind of into place, temporarily now," said the fighter.
I’ve got temporary braces. A little better. I’m doing all right though, thank you all for your love and support.”